iPad’s goal for the coming year
The common question I get now is whether the iPad will make a significant difference in Higher Education. And the answer is, yes if it was allowed to. The iPad is a more effective casual computing device, I now prefer it over my MacBook Air, which is the greatest laptop I have ever owned. But that is the problem, I place myself in a high competency computing demographic which Apple has already experienced great progress in transitioning to their MacBook line. True the MacBook is the best computing device for my demographic but we also see the tremendous potential for the iPad. It is a better computing device, but without multitasking and effective interaction with the outside world for file sharing and printing it has not been allowed to replace our MacBooks. This is entirely Apple’s decision and yes it is a good business decision.
Today Apple made sure that the iPhone would move to the next level of dominance with a glimpse at the key features of the 4.0 OS. And by delaying important upgrades to the iPad they confirm their business strategy. A strategy, by the way, that is brilliant but frustrating to me. Apple is going after an entirely different demographic. I would call it the users who have someone in their household capable of supporting a PC. These PC homes are frustrated with the value they have gotten out of this supposedly powerful computing device. Vista frustration, virus management and the many other issues have left them questioning their path to the internet. All they want is email and FaceBook, but reading a book online or innovative gaming is the open door to their exploring this new device called an iPad. Boom – Apple easily grabs this demographic and extracts maximum profit. But they have to keep my demographic out of the equation because we will confuse the general consumer platform.
Back to Higher Ed, students will or would love the iPad. However, the gatekeepers (faculty) to promoting the iPad are far to strictly dependent on features that are absent in the iPad, hence, the iPad will not be an easy adoption for students. It will still be positive for the select group of students capable of dealing with these restrictions. But it is a shame the real value of the iPad for Higher Education is probably being kicked back a year.